Cybersecurity Education Unveiled: Insights with Andreas Constantinides
Globally accredited cybersecurity expert Andreas Constantinides shares his journey, insights, and experience.
As the world progresses further into digital transformation practices and objectives, threats to peoples’ and organizations’ digital assets become increasingly more prevalent. In 2021, Norton highlighted that “more than 50 percent of all consumers have experienced a cybercrime, with around one in three falling victim in the past year alone.”
Additionally, CSO Online notes that “in 2022, 76 percent of organizations were targeted by a ransomware attack, out of which 64 percent were actually infected. Only 50 percent of these organizations managed to retrieve their data after paying the ransom. Additionally, a little over 66 percent of respondents reported to have had multiple, isolated infections.”
In order to prevent cyberattacks, organizations need to establish hard-shelled cybersecurity strategies. However, knowledge and skills in such practices are seldom found, and require experts to offer their time, insights, and expertise to help safeguard data for both individuals and organizations.
In the ever-evolving landscape of cybersecurity, individuals like Andreas Constantinides stand as vigilant sentinels, safeguarding our digital world. As Manager of Professional Services at Odyssey Cybersecurity in Cyprus, Andreas is a seasoned cybersecurity expert whose journey into the realm of digital defense has been both fascinating and impactful.
His impact has been recognized by the International Information System Security Certification Consortium (ISC2). He was nominated and selected as the 2023 ISC2 Global Achievement Award recipient for the ISC2 Senior Professional Award in EMEA for his extensive dedication to sharing knowledge and skill development in cybersecurity.
In Future Talks’ 115th episode, Andreas Constantinides delves into his remarkable career, Odyssey Cybersecurity's groundbreaking platform of products “ClearSkies”, the cybersecurity challenges faced by Cyprus, best practices to fortifying digital defenses, and his passionate advocacy for cybersecurity education, culminating in the authorship of his book, "Cybersecurity 101 - Fundamentals for Junior Engineers and Job Seekers."
Cybersecurity has been a lifelong passion for Andreas. He defines hackers not necessarily as malevolent entities, but as individuals driven by curiosity to dismantle and reassemble digital constructs. In the same sense, cybersecurity experts must be able to think like a hacker to identify their points of interest and objectives. This frame of thought marked the commencement of his lifelong journey into cybersecurity.
Andreas embarked on his career journey by studying computer science while simultaneously working at Odyssey Cybersecurity, an organization that has played a pivotal role in reshaping Cyprus's digital security landscape and a vanguard of Cyprus' cybersecurity.
He began as a security engineer and penetration tester, further immersing himself in the intricacies of digital vulnerabilities. At the beginning of his now 20-year journey with Odyssey Cybersecurity, he witnessed the construction of the country's first Security Operations Center (SOC), a 24/7 sentinel against threats, helping organizations to bolster their cybersecurity.
Today, Odyssey Cybersecurity has offices in Cyprus, Greece, the UK, and Saudi Arabia with 150 personnel, supporting customers around the world to build cyber resilient organizations.
One of Odyssey's most monumental achievements is the creation of ClearSkies Cloud SIEM, a Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) product. Its significance was underscored when it earned a coveted spot in Gartner's Magic Quadrant in 2021, placing it among the top 20 impactful SIEM products globally. With a team of 150 professionals and offices spanning across the globe, Odyssey Cybersecurity is a formidable force in the cybersecurity arena.
For Cyprus, knowing that a globally renowned organization dedicated to cybersecurity resides locally is critical. Cyberattacks have struck Cyprus, particularly in 2022 and 2023, with relentless vigor, compelling organizations to fortify their cybersecurity. The lack of knowledge in cybersecurity led to under-prepared methods to prevent and manage the extent of cyberattacks that various institutions and organizations suffered. In this sense, Andreas accentuates the importance of people receiving adequate training.
He adds that “businesses must be more analytical and practical when implementing cybersecurity improvements. They must assess their organization’s weaknesses, from where they are most likely to experience cyberattacks, make a plan and a roadmap to implement new technologies, systems, and processes, and then consider what technologies are needed, what procedures need to be set in place, and what training their personnel must receive.”
In this crucible of digital defense, Andreas Constantinides emphasizes the importance of a holistic approach. He highlights the "People - Process - Technology" principle, wherein all three elements are interdependent. It involves meticulous analysis of vulnerabilities, strategic planning, technology deployment, and continuous monitoring.
In terms of learning about cybersecurity practices and habits, he firmly believes that the foundation of cybersecurity should be laid from a young age. He recently conducted seminars for children aged 9 to 11, where he faced the challenge of translating complex cybersecurity concepts into language that engaged and educated young minds.
Utilizing the power of storytelling, Andreas conveyed essential lessons. Through imaginative tales, he taught children how to discern misinformation and safeguard personal information. One such story revolved around a football goalkeeper, and how he had injured his knee, but expressed over social media that he will attend the team’s match noting that his knee is starting to heal. Their opponents had read this publicly available information and used it to their advantage, highlighting the importance of protecting sensitive information.
His beliefs and passion culminated in Andreas authoring "Cybersecurity 101." This book serves as a valuable resource for aspiring cybersecurity professionals, offering interview guidance, practical exercises, and fundamental knowledge to embark on a career in cybersecurity.
Andreas imparts three invaluable pieces of advice. First, he emphasizes that cybersecurity is not merely an IT issue, but instead a business imperative that should involve all stakeholders. Second, he ardently advocates for cybersecurity education from a young age, acknowledging that data and electronic devices permeate every aspect of our lives. Lastly, he encourages us to start by securing the data that matters most to us, from cherished family photos to crucial passwords.
As he continues to champion cybersecurity, he exemplifies the transformative power of knowledge, dedication, and a passion for safeguarding our digital future. In a world where the digital realm is both a boon and a battleground, he inspires us to continue learning alongside one another, ensuring that we navigate the digital landscape securely and responsibly.
To get the full scoop, watch Andreas’ full interview with Future Talks here: